How to Dissolve Creosote in a Chimney

Creosote can be dissolved in chimneys with wood-burning stoves.
Creosote can be dissolved in chimneys with wood-burning stoves. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A creosote build-up is the sticky residue that remains in a chimney after wood has been burned. It is composed of unburned wood ash, the oily residue and natural gases that are released through wood combustion, particularly from burning unseasoned wet wood. After many burning cycles, it turns into a hard blackened glaze that coats the inside of both fireplace and wood-burning stove chimneys. If left without being cleaned, it can become a fire hazard, and so must be removed.

Things You'll Need

  • Creosote remover--liquid spray or powder
  • Heavy bristle brush

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Spray a creosote-dissolving liquid onto the creosote in your chimney. Some products recommend spraying the liquid directly into the fire, which spreads the vapor onto the creosote buildup. These liquids are available at hardware stores and come in their own easy-to-use spray bottles.

Sprinkle some creosote-dissolving powder into the fire as it burns. The powder will react with the fire and coat the creosote build-up in your chimney. This action will dissolve the glaze on the creosote, causing it to expand and contract rapidly. The creosote will flake into small particles and fall back into the fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Scrub or brush out the chimney once these chemicals have been applied. The brushes can be dunked into the liquids to aid in scrubbing out the chimney, while the residue left by the powdered chemicals will continue to flake off when brushed out.

References

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